Claire Sullivan, class of 2021, is a natural servant leader, committed change agent, and bright innovative scholar. She has been a wonderful asset to the University and Dayton communities, through her dedication to servant leadership, passion for environmental sustainability, social justice, and commitment to the common good. As a River Steward through the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community, a three-year co-curricular program focused on developing civic engagement and leadership skills through water and river advocacy, Claire and her fellow Stewards organized and created storm drain paintings in the student neighborhoods and in the nearby neighborhood to educate fellow students and residents about storm water run-off and the importance of caring for our water systems. As co-leader of the campus sustainability team in the Hanley Sustainability Institute, Claire works to engage and train a team of volunteer peer educators focused on living simply and sustainably beyond UD. Claire understands that showing up, being present, and bringing her whole self to every situation is crucial to change making and social action.
My community engagement has stemmed from my passion for social and environmental justice. When I have encountered and learned about injustices in the world, I felt an ethical sense of morality driving me to learn more and speak up in the pursuit of that justice. As a River Steward at the University of Dayton, I recently lead a volunteer project placing “no dumping” medallions on storm drains of a nearby city. I spoke to the city council afterwards, challenging them to think deeper about climate change and sustainability in their community, with the hope that my words may inspire them to action. I am dedicated to sustainability education in the community and on campus, whereby I lead volunteers to give sustainability presentations that have reached over 1400 students on campus. Also, I am currently working on the Moral Courage Project, a human rights storytelling project which will focus on sharing stories of moral courage regarding water access in the Kentucky Appalachian region and Flint, MI. I believe strongly in the intersectionality of social justice issues and the power of working together and supporting each other in fighting for the recognition and enjoyment of dignity for all regardless of our differences.